NAADAC 2022 Annual Conference Featured Speakers



Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS

Peer Specialist Program Manager, NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals

Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS, is the Peer Specialist Program Manager for NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. Brewer manages the Arkansas Peer Specialist Program Grant. He oversees the development and implementation of an innovative three-tier credentialing process (Core, Advanced, Supervision) for the Arkansas Peer Support Model. Brewer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Addiction Studies from the University of Central Arkansas in 2013. He went on to use his lived experience with drug and alcohol addiction to become a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, where he led the implementation of this position in an emergency department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Most recently, he became one of the first ten Certified Peer Support Supervisors in Arkansas. He also serves on numerous committees and boards to develop and strengthen the Arkansas Model and improve peer support services across the United States.

James "Kansas" Cafferty, LMFT, NCAAC, MAC

NCC AP Chair
Keynote Speaker

Kansas Cafferty, LMFT, MAC has been in the field of SUD treatment since 1997. He currently serves as the Chair of the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals and as the Credentialing Chair of the Global Centre for Credentialing and Certification. He has worked at all levels of care from detoxification to residential. He is currently in private practice in Oceanside, CA and serves as the Chief Clinical Officer for Klinic, a telehealth platform that delivers mental health and addiction specific treatment on a telehealth platform.

John Cates, MA, LCDC

Founder, Lifeway International

John Cates, MA, LCDC, has worked with substance use disorder treatment for 42 years. Appearing in print and via broadcast, he is known worldwide as a therapist, author, speaker, and designer of education and treatment programs. Cates is the recipient of multiple awards, including NAADAC’s Counselor of the Year in 2001. Cates is the co-author of Recovering Our Children and founder of Lifeway International, an Alternative Peer Group (APG) program serving families across the nation for over 32 years. He started the first free-standing recovery school in 1976 and specializes in designing sober schools that give students a safe place to heal. The most recent Three Oaks Academy is seen in Generation Found. Cates is in recovery from heroin addiction and knows what it takes to live a successful, drug-free life.

Wilson M. Compton, MD, MPE

Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health
Keynote Speaker

Wilson M. Compton, MD, MPE, is Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health, where he has worked since 2002. Compton received his undergraduate education at Amherst College and medical education, including psychiatry training, at Washington University in St. Louis. Over his career, Compton has authored over 250 publications and often speaks at high-impact venues. He was a member of DSM-5’s Revision Task Force and has led, for NIDA, development of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study, jointly sponsored by NIDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with 45,971 participants. Compton has received multiple awards, including FDA awards for collaboration in 2012, 2013 and 2017, and the Health and Human Services Secretary’s Awards for Meritorious Service in 2013 and Distinguished Service in 2015, 2018 and 2019.

Tian Dayton, PhD

Senior Fellow, Psychologist, Psychodramatist, The Meadows
Keynote Speaker

Tian Dayton, PhD, is a Senior Fellow at The Meadows and author of 15 books, including The Soulful Journey of Recovery, The ACoA Trauma Syndrome, Emotional Sobriety, and Forgiving and Moving On. She is also a Huffington Post blogger. Dayton was on the faculty at New York University for eight years teaching Psychodrama. She is a fellow of the American Society of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy ASGPP, and is the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award, Scholar’s Award, and President’s Award. Dayton is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy and sits on the Professional Standards Committee. She is also the winner of the Mona Mansell Award and The Ackermann Black Award. Dayton has been a guest expert on NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Montel, Rikki Lake, John Walsh, and Geraldo. For further information, log onto

Robert L. DuPont, MD

Clinical Professor, Georgetown University School of Medicine
Keynote Speaker

Robert L. DuPont, MD, has been a leader in substance use disorder treatment and prevention for 50 years. He was the first Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the second White House Drug Chief. He is the founding President of the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., a non-profit research and policy organization that identifies and promotes powerful new ideas to reduce drug use. He maintains an active practice of psychiatry, specializing in addiction and anxiety disorders. He has been Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine since 1980. A graduate of Emory University, he received an MD degree from the Harvard Medical School and completed his psychiatric training at Harvard and the National Institutes of Health.

Jerry A. Jenkins, MEd, LADAC, MAC

COO, Alaska Behavioral Health Association

Jerry A. Jenkins, MEd, LADAC, MAC, has 40 years of experience in treating substance use disorders and mental illness, or leading organizations that do. He has worked in and managed community-based, outpatient, halfway house, and residential treatment services. He is an advocate for recovery with an emphasis on being trauma-informed. He has been a member of NAADAC since 1986. He has been involved in executive-level leadership since 1994, with 15 years as CEO of Anchorage Community Mental Health Services (2003-2018). He holds the current title of COO for the Alaska Behavioral Health Association. He is Immediate Past Chair of the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) and currently serves as the NAADAC Treasurer.

Mita M. Johnson, EdD, LAC, MAC, SAP

President, NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals
Keynote Speaker

Mita M. Johnson, EdD, LAC, MAC, SAP, has been practicing in the world of mental health, marriage and family, and addictions counseling for the past 30 years. She earned her Doctorate degree in counselor education and supervision and is a core faculty member in the School of Counseling program at Walden University. She has a thriving private practice where she provides telebehavioral health services, clinical supervision, counseling to our military, and addiction-specific training and education. Her areas of specialization include pharmacology, co-occurring disorders, ethics, culturally-responsive care, and clinical supervision. She has been an active member of NAADAC for the last 15 years, has served as the Ethics Chair, and began her term as the NAADAC President in October 2020.

Amer Kaissi, PhD

Speaker, Executive Coach, and Professor, Trinity University
Keynote Speaker

Amer Kaissi, PhD, ("Ah-mer Ky-See") is an award-winning Professor of Healthcare Administration at Trinity University, a Top-15 program. He is the author of the book Intangibles: The Unexpected Traits of High-Performing Healthcare Leaders, which won the 2019 American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Book of the Year Award. Kaissi joined the faculty of Trinity University in 2003 after earning a Doctorate in Health Services Administration from the University of Minnesota. At Trinity, Kaissi teaches courses in leadership, professional development, and public speaking, and serves as the Director of the Executive Program. His research focuses on leadership, coaching, and strategy. Kaissi is a national speaker with Huron/Studer Group and a faculty member with ACHE, the University of Colorado - Denver, and Boston College. He is also a certified Executive and Physician Coach. He works with MEDI Leadership and with The Leadership Development (TLD) Group as an executive coach and consults with hospitals and other organizations in their strategic planning efforts. His recent leadership book Humbitious: The Power of Low-Ego- High-Drive Leadership was published in January of 2022. Kaissi, an avid soccer fan, lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife and two teenagers.

Honesty Liller, CPRS

CEO, The McShin Foundation

Honesty Liller, CPRS, is a woman in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder since May 27, 2007, and a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist in Virginia. Liller is the best-selling author of Scattered Pink and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The McShin Foundation, a non-profit, authentic, peer-to-peer recovery community organization (RCO) that serves individuals and families with substance use disorders. She was the recipient of Faces and Voices of Recovery's Vernon Johnson Award in 2015 and has been featured on “Face The Nation," FOX News, and PBS to discuss addiction and recovery in America. In addition, she completed Stanford University’s Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. In 2019, she was honored with the Jean C. Harris Community Service Board Award from Hanover County and was featured on WRIC - Channel 8 News' “Richmond’s Remarkable Women” special in 2020. She has been a field reviewer for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), Faces and Voices of Recovery, and The Council on Accredidation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS). As a female entrepreneur, she co-founded CARE Talks, LLC. Liller is a voice for those with addiction and their families through countless news articles, magazine stories, and TV interviews. Spending time with her husband, two children, and two dogs is a gift that keeps giving!

Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, BSW, NCAC II, CDC III, SAP

Executive Director, NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals
Keynote Speaker

Cynthia Moreno Tuohy, BSW, NCAC II, CDC III, SAP, is the Executive Director of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, and has worked as an addiction professional for 46 years. She has been a trainer in Domestic Violence/Anger Management and Conflict Resolution for over 30 years as well as an international, national and state trainer. Moreno Tuohy is also a curriculum writer in addiction screening and evaluation, counseling methods, conflict resolution, co-occurring disorders, ethics, documentation, and medicated assisted treatment and recovery, and has written articles published in national and other trade magazines. Her book, Rein in Your Brain; from Impulsivity to Thoughtful Living in Recovery, was released May 2014 through Hazelden Publishers. She has served as President of NAADAC, Certification Board Commissioner, International Chair, Treasurer and Legislative Chair for NAADAC.

Aaron Norton, PhD

Executive Director, National Board of Forensic Evaluators
Keynote Speaker

Aaron Norton, PhD, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Master Addictions Counselor serving as Executive Director of the National Board of Forensic Evaluators, Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Florida, and Southern Regional Director for the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He has 20 years of clinical and forensic experience, has been awarded the Mental Health Counselor of the Year and Public and Community Service Award by the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and has been published in several social science journals and professional magazines in clinical mental health and addictions counseling.

Gerard J. Schmidt, MA, LPC, MAC

Chief Operations Officer, Valley HealthCare System

Gerard J. Schmidt, MA, LPC, MAC, is Past President of NAADAC and the Chief Operations Officer at Valley HealthCare System in Morgantown, WV. He has been in the mental health and addictions treatment profession for the past 45 years. Publications to his credit include several articles on the development of employee assistance programs in rural areas and wellness in the workplace, addictions practice in residential settings, and an overview of addictions practice in the United States. He has edited treatment improvement protocols for CSAT for several years and has been active with the mid-Atlantic ATTC. Schmidt had served as the Chair of the NAADAC Certification Commission and the Public Policy Committee.

Marvin D. Seppala, MD

Retired Chief Medical Officer, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Keynote Speaker

Marvin D. Seppala, MD, is a graduate of the Mayo Medical School and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He completed his psychiatric training and a fellowship in addiction at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in Minneapolis. He was the Chief Medical Officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation for over two decades, where his responsibilities included overseeing all interdisciplinary clinical practices, maintaining and improving quality of care, and supporting growth strategies for residential and nonresidential addiction treatment programs. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Seppala has written several books about substance use disorders, researched about addiction treatment, and has been a sought after speaker.

Helen "Skip" Skipper

Executive Director, The NYC Justice Peer Initiative

Helen "Skip" Skipper has been working in peer support since her release from incarceration in 2007. She was the Manager of Peer Services at the New York City Criminal Justice Agency before transitioning into her new journey as Executive Director of the NYC Justice Peer Initiative. Skipper is a Columbia University Justice-in-Education scholar while also maintaining a 3.7 GPA at St. Francis College, where she is the first Justice Initiatives Program participant to be invited to join the honor classes and act as student representative. Skipper was the first Peer Supervisor employed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for her role in the groundbreaking Friendship Benches NYC. She lives by her mantra – “I’ve been around the block a time or two on my tricycle and use those lived experiences to color my world while assisting, supporting, advocating and navigating for those still caught up in the oppressive and broken criminal justice system!”

Samson Teklemariam, LPC, CPTM

Vice President, Directory of Clinical Services, Behavioral Health Group
Keynote Speaker

Samson Teklemariam, LPC, CPTM, is the Vice President of Clinical Services for Behavioral Health Group (BHG). He is an accomplished leader with a history of driving organizational results with learning and development solutions. Known for implementing initiatives that support organizational priorities and produce measurable outcomes, he has been a leader in the field of addiction treatment for over 10 years. He was formerly the Director of Training and Professional Development for NAADAC. He is a Certified Lead Trainer for the Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Substance Abuse (CBISA) curriculum, Calm Every Storm: Crisis Prevention & Intervention curriculum, and experienced in treating trauma-related disorders using trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TFCBT) and Seeking Safety. Teklemariam previously worked for Phoenix House Foundation as the National Director of Learning and Development.

William White

Emeritus Senior Research Consultant, Chestnut Health Systems
Keynote Speaker

William White, Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems, has worked in the addictions field since 1969 in clinical, educational, and research roles. He is a prominent recovery advocate who has served as a volunteer consultant to recovery community organizations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He has authored or co-authored 400+ articles, 350+ recovery blogs, and 21 books. For the past 25 years, his research has focused on mapping the prevalence, pathways, styles, and stages of long-term addiction recovery.